Methamphetamine is derived from amphetamine, a potent central nervous system stimulator. Amphetamines are commonly prescribed to treat medical conditions, including ADHD, narcolepsy, and clinical obesity. When used properly, these medications are highly effective. Methamphetamine, referred to as meth, crystal meth, crystal, and crank, is illegally produced in meth labs and sold as a recreational drug. Meth is highly addictive, which makes the transition from regular use to abuse happen very quickly. The meth addiction treatment program at Westwind Recovery® can help you or your loved one recover from meth addiction.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Meth is most commonly smoked but can also be injected, swallowed, or snorted. The production of meth is hazardous and requires toxic chemicals that remain in the finished product. Smoking meth exposes the mouth to these harsh chemicals and erodes the teeth and gums, a condition referred to as “meth mouth,” the clearest indicator of meth addiction.
The physical and psychological effects of meth addiction are often more apparent than with other drugs or alcohol and can include:
- Extreme, rapid weight loss
- Intense itching that leads to scabs and sores
- Burns on the fingers and lips
- Erratic patterns of sleep
- Twitching, facial tics, or jerky movements
Meth addiction poses a high risk for overdose, especially when used in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs, which it commonly is. Research on long-term meth use indicates that it is associated with impaired verbal learning and coordination. It also causes significant changes to areas of the brain that regulate emotion and memory. For individuals who seek help from a meth addiction treatment program, these brain changes often begin to reverse after a year or so of sobriety. Unfortunately, for some, the changes are permanent.
“Tweaking” is another telltale sign of meth addiction. Tweaking is a period that occurs following a meth binge when the user cannot achieve a high. It can last anywhere from three days to two weeks and is often marked by side effects, including:
While meth abuse and addiction can have profound effects on a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being, meth addiction treatment at Westwind Recovery® can offer a way to heal.
What Is Meth Comedown?
Compared to other amphetamines or stimulants like cocaine, meth passes into the brain more quickly and in larger amounts, making it more potent. Meth causes the rapid release of high doses of dopamine in reward centers in the brain. The intense effect of meth on the brain’s production of dopamine is what makes it so addictive. Though intense, the high users get from meth is short-lived, resulting in people taking repeated doses to avoid a comedown. This “binge and crash” pattern is very unhealthy.
Meth comedown symptoms can be severe and often cause users to stay high for days or even weeks to avoid it. The effects of a meth comedown can last for hours or days, depending on how much meth was consumed. Meth use causes such intense pleasurable effects that when it wears off, individuals are left feeling empty. As meth use increases, the intensity of the comedown becomes more intense, leading to withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Depressive or psychotic states
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
- Mood instability
- Body aches and pains
The effects and symptoms of meth comedown can be severe and, in some instances, life-threatening. Because of the tendency toward violent outbursts, individuals experiencing a meth comedown can be a danger to others, as well as themselves, and often find themselves in legal trouble.
Find Recovery With Meth Addiction Treatment at Westwind Recovery®
Meth addiction can make you feel trapped, even when you want to quit. The meth addiction treatment program at Westwind Recovery® can help you or your loved one safely detox, find the path to long-term recovery, and learn how to prevent relapse. Contact us at 855.340.8832 to learn more about recovery from meth addiction.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.